August 13, 2020

In re J.H., 260 Cal. Rptr. 3d 847 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020)

Juvenile defendant was ordered to pay restitution as part of a delinquency adjudication. After his wardship terminated and writs of execution were issued for the unpaid restitution balance, the superior court granted defendant’s motion to quash, reasoning that the restitution order was no longer valid because the 10-year enforcement period for money judgments had expired without renewal of the restitution order. The state appealed. The court explained that California’s Constitution guarantees crime victims the right to restitution, and a California statute specifically exempts restitution orders issued against adults from the statutory requirement that money judgments will become unenforceable 10 years after the date of entry. However, the statute is silent as to juvenile restitution orders. Looking to legislative intent, and in particular the intent to compensate all victims of crime who suffer direct economic loss, the court found that the legislature intended juvenile restitution orders to be enforceable like their adult counterparts. “By enacting [the relevant juvenile restitution statute] and expressly linking enforcement of juvenile restitution orders to procedures for enforcing adult restitution orders, the Legislature intended to continue the parallel treatment of criminal and juvenile restitution. This means every relevant portion of Penal Code section 1214 [relating to enforcement of restitution orders] applies to the enforcement of delinquency restitution orders, including [that the section that governs enforceability and renewal of money judgment] shall not apply to certain statutory restitution fines and orders … .” Thus, the court concluded that although a restitution order in a delinquency case is enforceable like a money judgment, it is not a money judgment for the purpose of applying the 10-year period of enforceability of money judgments. The order was reversed.